By the time Aaron Hernandez begins his trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd, there is no telling how many other instances of crime and violence authorities will have tried to attach his name to. The latest investigation reportedly involves Hernandez’s possible involvement in a 2007 shooting in Gainesville, Fla.
According to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Massachusetts authorities have reached out to police in Gainesville to determine if Hernandez, who would have a 17-year-old freshman at Florida at the time, had a role in a shooting that left two men wounded.
On Sept. 30, 2007, two men say they had left a nightclub with a friend when someone opened fire on their car when they were stopped at a red light. Corey Smith, who was 28 at the time and sitting in the front passenger seat, was shot in back of the head. Justin Glass, 19 at the time and driving, was shot in the arm. Randall Cason, who was in the back seat, was unharmed.
Witnesses said the shooter was a black male, but Cason told police there were two suspects. He described the shooter as a “Hawaiian” or “Hispanic” male with a large muscular build who stood about 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 and weighed 230 or 240 pounds and had a lot of tattoos. He identified the black male with the shooter as former Gator Reggie Nelson, who was a rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars at the time. Nelson later said he had been at the club but denied any involvement.
“As they were waiting for the light to change, the Hawaiian football player and Reggie Nelson walked up to their car on the right side,” Cason told detectives, according to the police report. “Then without saying a work [sic], the Hawaiian pointed a small handgun in the front right window and fired five quick shots. Cason saw Smith slump over with blood coming out of the back of the head, at which time the Hawaiian and Nelson took off running towards McDonald’s.”
Nelson said he saw Hernandez in the nightclub, The Venue, with twin brothers Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, who now play in the NFL. He claimed Hernandez told him that Cason had stolen one of the twins’ necklace. Nelson said he later spoke to Cason and that the two parted ways on good terms.
Gainesville police Lt. Keith Kameg later said Hernandez and Nelson were not suspects. Police said they spoke to Hernandez, but the police report says he declined to be interviewed nine days after the shooting. His name was scrubbed from the report because he was 17 at the time, but there is one section that says he “invoked his right to counsel” when police attempted to speak with him.
For whatever reason, Cason later took back his identification of both Nelson and Hernandez.
Anyone sensing a pattern? Aside from the theme of people being shot at while they wait at traffic lights, it’s obvious that Hernandez has more to worry about than being charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd. He could be going down for several other crimes by the time the drama ends — if it ever does.
UPDATE: The Gainesville Police department has denied that it was contacted by Massachusetts investigators or any other law enforcement agency about the 2007 incident. They say it is an ongoing criminal investigation and that there has not been any incident report released.
UPDATE (12:06 p.m.): It turns out the incident report was indeed released, albeit by way of a clerical error.Google+